Facing the Cubs at Chicago, the New York Mets made things easy for Dwight Gooden Wednesday in his first road start since returning from drug rehabilitation. And Gooden appreciated it.
"It was a lot easier with that lead," said Gooden, who was staked to an 8-0 advantage in the first three innings on home runs by Gary Carter, Tim Teufel and Keith Hernandez, who also homered in the sixth inning.
The Mets ended up with 19 hits and a 13-2 victory as Gooden went eight innings, striking out 10 and walking none while allowing eight hits and two runs.
"I felt great, I had my control early and got the breaking ball over," Gooden said. "With the lead, I was able to experiment more and I threw a lot more curves and changes."
Gooden, who went 6 innings in beating Pittsburgh, 5-1, in his first start last Friday, threw 120 pitches and lost his bid for a shutout when Shawon Dunston homered with two out in the seventh and the Mets leading, 12-0. He said he tired in the eighth when he allowed the second run on Brian Dayett's RBI triple.
"I just told Mel (pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre) to let me finish the eighth," said Gooden, who finished the inning by making Leon Durham his 10th strikeout victim, the 32nd time in 101 career starts he has struck out 10 or more. Doug Sisk pitched the ninth.
Gooden said he considered it an excellent road test "not because of the fans but because of the ball park and the short porches."
"It's one of the toughest parks to pitch in," said Gooden, who is 11-2 lifetime against the Cubs.
Carter, who had four hits, said: "I thought he threw very well. It was one of his better performances. He had excellent velocity and control."
Manager Davey Johnson also was pleased with Gooden's performance. Johnson compared it to Gooden's 24-4 season two years ago.
"He showed flashes of 1985, the way he was throwing," Johnson said.
Houston 10, San Diego 1--Alan Ashby drove in five runs with a grand slam and a single as the Astros rolled over the Padres at Houston. It was San Diego's 45th loss in 60 games this season.
In the fourth inning, Ashby hit a 3-2 pitch over the center-field fence for his fourth home run of the season and the third grand slam of his 12-year major league career.
Mike Scott (7-3) gave up one run on three hits in seven innings, and struck out seven to move past teammate Nolan Ryan into the National League strikeout lead with 102. Ryan has 96.
Loser Storm Davis (1-7) went four innings, giving up four runs on four hits.
St. Louis 3, Philadelphia 1--Vince Coleman had two hits and three stolen bases but had another lengthy streak snapped as the Cardinals edged the Phillies at Philadelphia.
Coleman was 41 for 41 lifetime in stolen-base attempts against the Phillies before being thrown out by Philadelphia pitcher Kevin Gross trying to steal home in the eighth.
Greg Mathews (4-4) allowed six hits in 7 innings, striking out seven and walking three. He was replaced by Todd Worrell after Juan Samuel hit his 10th homer with one out in the eighth. Worrell got his 14th save.
Gross (4-5) allowed six hits, struck out four and walked four in going the distance.
San Francisco 9, Cincinnati 4--Candy Maldonado hit three doubles, including one that drove in the go-ahead run in the eighth inning, as the Giants beat the Reds at Cincinnati.
The victory moved the Giants to within one game of the first-place Reds in the National League West. The teams split the first two games of the three-game series.
Keith Comstock (2-0) pitched a perfect seventh inning to pick up the win. Scott Garrelts finished the game for his seventh save.
Bill Gullickson (7-3) took the loss for the Reds, who got a pair of solo home runs from Kal Daniels, his 12th and 13th of the season.
Montreal 4, Pittsburgh 3--Herm Winningham singled home Tim Raines with two out in the 11th inning at Montreal, giving the Expos the victory.
Raines, who also had a homer and a two-run double, started the 11th with a base hit off Don Robinson (4-4) and went to second on Tim Wallach's infield out. Raines advanced to third on a passed ball before Winningham lined his game-winning hit.
Bob McClure (3-1) pitched one inning to get the victory.